Robertson measure increases parental power

Robertson measure increases parental power

Lansing— The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved legislation that would empower parents to turn a failing public school into a conversion school, said sponsor state Sen. Dave Robertson.

Senate Bill 620 would allow parents as well as public school teachers to convert a public school that has been placed on the Persistently Low Achieving list, which are the lowest achieving 5 percent of schools as determined by the state Department of Education.

Under the measure, parents and/or parents and teachers petition the school board to convert a school. Specifically, signatures from 60 percent of parents or 51 percent of parents and 60 percent of teachers at the school in question are required to petition the board.

More than 66,400 students statewide are enrolled in one of the 92 low performing schools as identified by a formula that includes proficiency rates in math and reading and graduation rates for high schools. Detroit Public Schools had the most schools on the list with 38.

“I always ask myself two questions: whose kids are they and whose tax dollars are they?  The answer is the parents,” said Robertson, R-Grand Blanc Township. This legislation gives parents the opportunity to take control of their children's education and insist on what is best for their student.”

Senate Bill 620 now advances to the House of Representatives for further consideration